Citizen Journalists: The New Media

reporterRecently I was fortunate enough to attend a social media training session on the importance of state and local citizen journalism. I came to support my friend Erik Telford, who was one of the panelists, but I ended up learning stuff and getting motivated to become more involved in investigating and reporting.

Some of the biggest stories broken over the past few years have been broken by regular people like you and me, not formally trained journalists with the mainstream media. With the advent of mobile technology, two college kids can film Congressman Bob Etheridge assaulting them for asking a simple question, and bring national attention to a race that was previously thought unwinnable by challenger Renee Ellmers.

She won.


Anthony Weiner had to resign after Andrew Breitbart broke open a story about his lewd behavior toward women.

White House Adviser Van Jones left his position after bloggers brought his 9/11 truther past into the light of day.

A typewriter expert in Montana possibly single-handedly saved a presidency when he proved that documents incriminating President Bush had been falsified. Dan Rather and CBS had done so little fact-checking that they failed to notice that the typeset of the memos was impossible to create in the time period they had supposedly been written.

Mr. Telford encouraged the attendees of the session to tell the story that the mainstream media is not. “Report the truth,” he instructed. “The truth is so awful right now that you don’t really need to add to it.”

Fellow panelist Guy Benson encouraged the audience by reminding us that the liberal media doesn’t pull punches. “The other side is ruthless,” he said. “We have to be relentless. The truth will win out ... if it comes to light.”

The wonderful thing about the press in America is that it’s not state-controlled. Anyone can go to their local government meeting and report on what happens there. Anyone can fact-check the stories that the mainstream media puts out. Anyone can report the truth.

So get out there and get reporting. The truth is out there, Scully. You just have to find it.

Image via woodleywonderworks/Flickr

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